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Assam invites investments in Agri biotech sector

Assam is positioning itself as a major center for phyto pharmaceuticals industry and is wooing investors to the state to develop this sector in a big way.

By Narayanan Suresh

“Assam is a constituent unit of the Eastern Himalayan Biodiversity Region, one of the two biodiversity ‘hot spots’ in the county and the state is blessed with more than 952 identified species of plants which are used in medical practices,” the state chief minister, Mr Sarbananda Sonowal, informed a Road Show show for Advantage Assam summit in Chennai on January 8. 2018. Advantage Assam, the first global investor conference in the North East region will be held in Guwahati  on February  3-4, 2018.

Mr Sonowal made a strong case for developing more plant-based pharmaceuticals in Assam.  He said approximately 34 percent of the state is under forests with 18 varied forest types and the state possesses an extensive documented history of traditional medicine.

The state produces more than 15 per cent of the country’s tea  and is the third largest producer of natural rubber.

The chief minister, who had recently conducted road shows for the  February event in USA, UK, South Korea, Singapore among other countries said Assam has announced a forward looking  policy for pharmaceuticals and medical equipment.
 The key pharma related projects are :
    1. Pharmaceutical Park at  Chaygaon, Kamrup
    2. Development of Pharmaceutical Cluster, Kuruwa, Kamurp
    3. Development of Pharmaceutical Cluster at Balip[ara in Sonitpur

The chief minister and Mr Ravi Capoor, additional chief secretary, highlighted  other biotech strengths of the state.  The Assam Agricultural University (AAU) is a major research player in agri biotech. The DBT-AAU Center for Agricultural Biotechnology conducts high quality research on Gene Prospecting from microbes.
The Guwahati Biotech Park has approximately 20,000 sq ft of lab space. The state has announced a Start-up Policy that encourages innovative companies in the technology sector including biotech. The policy exempts start-ups from state GST, and provides a range of fiscal incentives including reimbursement of costs associated with getting domestic and international patents.